In the past couple of weeks, my apartment mates, friends, and I have all gotten addicted to Sporcle.

What is this strange-to-pronounce name, you might ask? It is a dangerously addicting website where users can play “mentally stimulating” games on a number of topics, which range from the very specific (“Shakespeare Plays” to “LOTR Races”) to the extremely broad (“Countries of Africa,” or “Major Wars”). Each “game” is timed, and afterwards you can also see the statistics of “most missed” and pride yourself on the fact that you knew the answer to a question that 80% of Sporclers missed.


Sporcle.com: the worst diversion since Wikipedia.



One of my apartments and I share a passion for trivia–in fact, we’ve been trying to get our hands on a copy of Trivial Pursuit for over a year now. As you can imagine, this coupled with the “challenge” of the time limit had disastrous consequences. Apt 205 and friends stayed up once until 4 A.M. playing it, until the will to play was reined in by sheer physical limitations. We played on topics across the board–including “Original Pokemon” (extremely difficult because of spelling) to my personal favorite, “Opening Lines” under Literature. We’ve also brought Sporcle to large gatherings, playing Time’s 100 Best Television Shows with 15 other people.

Sporcle seems harmless enough, but what can start off as just one game can quickly spawn into a Sporcle marathon. Save yourselves–do NOT play if nearing midterms/giant papers or labs/finals. Dear reader, you have been forewarned.

I’m in Boston/Cambridge area visiting a couple of friends for the weekend. This is very unusual for me since I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve traveled alone to visit people. I also usually don’t take “weekend getaways,” but Anna convinced me to come out this Columbus Day weekend.

The beginnings of autumn in New England.

The beginnings of autumn in New England.

I flew in last night — flight was enjoyable, my plane arrived more than thirty minutes early! Anna met me at the airport, and I got to take in a beautiful view of Boston/Cambridge while riding the T. I walked around a bit last night and had Herrell’s ice cream and a much-appreciated dinner with Bhavna.

This morning, I sat in on a Harvard Law School class on legislation and regulation. It’s Family Day at HLS, so I wasn’t the only visitor (maybe I should parade around as Anna’s sister?). The class was so interesting, and the students were very engaged. I think I’ll enjoy the atmosphere when I eventually enter law school. After that I met Eric L. for breakfast and a tour around campus. I met Anna after class for hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick –yum!

Anna's chai and warm rasberry tart -- perfect snack on a cold day.

Anna's chai and warm raspberry tart -- perfect snack for a cold day.

Harvard is so pretty. It almost feels like Disneyland because of all the bricked roads. I’m enjoying my trip so far, especially the leaves and the food. More later.

Excuse the brevity — I’ve got “real work” to do and have already wasted enough time online.😦

What’s been going on in life? A few notes:

  • Extremely busy with a club that serve as president for. I guess I didn’t realize the time commitment would be so great when I took on the role. I’ve been running around, making sure office hours are okay, double checking the happiness of interns, worrying about little things the other directors aren’t responsible for, etc. Welcome back to management life, I suppose
  • I’ve also been helping two clients for mentioned club last week. There are some really messed up landlords in Berkeley–and they can even be students! I’m glad somebody cares and can help
  • Recently succumbed to a Twitter account (for class)–but now I fear I might be addicted to finding pseudo-celebrities and chasing trending topics. Why, why, why??? What can possibly be said in 140 characters other than some narcissistic, unnecessary glimpse into one’s life? (But then again, what is a blog?)
  • Also recently discovered how great Thucydides is. That guy rocks! It’s like reading 300 in a book. Personal favorites: Mytilenian debate and Melian dialogue
  • Still cooking+blogging away at Foodie Friday
  • Caught up on a lot of TV the other day. Not a good sign
  • On another note, should cancel Netflix as soon as I am caught up on How I Met Your Mother and Entourage. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to think to really take advantage of Netflix

See you in ~2 weeks!

…as you can tell. I’m not a regular blogger, just someone that blogs whenever I feel like I have something to say.

HOWEVER…my friends and I recently started a food blog, Foodie Friday, where I am a more regular poster. So far I have written two, one on a summer pasta and another on Elmo cupcakes. We have a lot of posts to retroactively put up — like actual Foodie Fridays — and other recipes, etc.

Bon appetit, and I’ll blog a “real post” sometime soon.

School is finally starting to calm down…which means finals are close! The sweltering heat has also made it excruciatingly difficult to do anything productive. I just might have to escape to the library for the free air conditioning…

Today’s Washington Post featured an interesting article on Facebook’s “Causes” application, which lets you donate directly to your cause of choice. The article mentions that despite a large non-profit presence on Facebook Causes, many organizations have experienced very small financial return.

This is a major concern surrounding internet-based ventures. Many supposedly lucrative companies–such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and some argue even Google–have yet to actually produce real, sustainable profits, or at least profits that match the premium other companies/investors have put on it. Couple this with the “everything should be free” general attitude many internet users hold, and the popularity of open-source, non-profit profits. Donations can only go so far. To match those investors’ high expectations, you need a viable business model. How much is Google actually pulling in from advertisers (I should probably get around to looking at financial statements and annual reports sometime for this one)? Google gives out products like candy on Halloween.

Are there really cookies waiting for us in the jar, or were there never any to begin with?

Until a new or successful business model brings in real dollars–and soon–there are going to be some very angry investors out there.

Someone told me something pretty interesting last week: “Just because all this technology is out there doesn’t mean companies have to utilize it all.” A valid point. Do people really follow company twitters that extensively? How many blogs are out there that no one reads (maybe even this one?)? Causes is a good publicity mechanism, but it seems that for now, traditional fundraising remains dominant.

Worst case scenario for internet-based companies. Could you face and calm this angry mob?

Worst case scenario for internet-based companies. Could you face and calm this angry mob?

Or, if you’re like me and delete/ignore all requests (including Causes), perhaps the application isn’t such a great publicity tool after all. I ignore many because I feel that many people with Causes are just bandwagon supporters. For example, look towards Facebook Groups. Many Facebook users will go as far as joining a group for something believe in (think of all those “NO NEW FACEBOOK” groups, or “One Million Strong for __Your Name Here__), but usually will do nothing past that. In this way, Causes is reduced to a means of broadcasting empty, unsubstantiated support for “causes,” which can merely be collected like Boy Scout patches, stamps, or Pokemon cards.

I’m not a cynic–in fact, I’m an ardent user of web 2.0–but I do think one should cautiously consider whether or not a business is actually viable before jumping on the “Facebook is work $203498320498320 billion dollars” bandwagon. So show me the money! And I want real dollars, none of that huge, unsubstantiated P/E ratio bs.

Every little girl who loved to read and grew up in the late 80s/early 90s had one common dream: to one day have a Beauty and the Beast Library of her own.

The best self-present ever: a monument to all that is literary, complete with rolling ladders, stair cases, wall-to-wall books, and big comfy reading chairs. Also with a bay window and cushion, if I feel like reading by a scenic view.

I am no exception.

I’ve already described my ideal day to many as one where I can settle down with a good book, a cup of tea (or hot chocolate, depending on my preference that day), and read. Usually this would happen at a bookstore (I prefer a local bookstore or Barnes and Noble; what can I say, I’m a sucker for new books), but it’d be much more convenient to have my own library. I guess these “reading days” have been a long tradition for me. My dad and I used to spend a good 5+ hours at B&N or the library when I was little; when I was a bit older I’d spend afternoons reading underneath the skylight in my uncle’s attic; and last summer, I’d spend a couple hours with Albert and Anna at Kramer’s or our apartment in DC. Unfortunately, with school going on I usually lose the time/energy to read for pleasure. On the bright side: I’m beginning to enjoy my school books more and more (in fact, some of them are a pleasure to read). Still not the same though.

I guess  B&N and Morrison Library will do for now. But someday, I’ll have that library. Any donations to this cause are welcome.🙂

Sometimes, I wish that I could put everything (work, clubs, etc.) aside and just study. Words cannot adequately describe the giddiness that comes over me when I accomplish a load of studying, or the feeling of excitement I get when I open a  textbook, take a deep whiff of “new book smell,” and dive in.

If there’s anything I have discovered during college, it’s that the world is painted in shades of grey. I’m confused now more than ever. Decisions that were once black and white are suddenly hard to make. How do you balance economic efficiency with dreams of equality? Safety and the right to privacy? Responsibility and forgiveness? I’m arguably still a romantic, but I have also been dared to examine a text or idea and draw my own conclusions. As a result, I have discovered that I am not the liberal I thought I was, and that I am increasingly hesitant to fire off criticism prior to considering multiple perspectives.

My favorite class this semester is a rhetoric course entitled “American Idiot: Anti-intellectual Discourse in Modern American Political Culture.” The class has prompted many questions of identity, all of which I have yet to find answers to. What does it mean to be truly American? Does it mean that you’re a greedy capitalist, a gun-toting fundamentalist, or a person unable to control your impulses and desires? Does it mean all three, or none of these? What does it mean to be authentic? Why do we celebrate the rugged, primitive self-made man?

Someone once told me that college isn’t supposed to teach you how to do things, but that it’s supposed to teach you how to think. In my experience, college has continually questioned my assumptions about the world. It has forced me to reexamine what I really believe in and why.

And I’m loving it.